Tuesday, 19 October 2021

♥ "Long Ago and Far Away" - Cliff Richard (original)

I love this so much.  Pure escapism.  Takes me away to a place I'd rather be right now..........

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Do You Like Your Name?

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently.  Thinking and planning and sorting and gardening.  I found this huge mushroom under the leaf/compost pile that I have been adding to all year.  We no longer pay for the council green waste collection - why pay to give away our own plant waste when we can put it back to the earth?

The weeks roll over one week into the next and yet I feel stuck with this cycle of trying to get rid of things I have accumulated over the years.  It is taking longer than I envisaged.

In a reflective mood I started to think about my name - Simone.  It is pronounced Sim-on and yet for most of my life people refer to me as Sim-own.  Even when I have corrected people they have continued to call me Sim-own.  My family refer to me as Simbo, Simmy, Sim-on-ee,  my husband calls me Sir- mon and my Great Nan used to call me Sommy!!!

I wonder if my life would have been any different if I had been given another name.  I think my name is ugly and it means snub-nosed and I do have a snub nose!  I don't even have a middle name that I can use instead.

Do you like your name?  Do you think your name has had a negative or positive impact on your life or not made any difference at all?

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Still Decluttering and Dismantling

I deleted my previous post about collecting ideas etc rather than things as I wasn't happy with it and didn't like the scrabbled together photo (just in case you wondered where it went!)

It is a long hard slog but I am still dismantling my crafting life and selling/getting rid of things that no longer bring me joy.  Today I boxed up a lovely selection of yarn to sell on eBay and a smaller lot of cotton yarn (for making the dishcloths that I planned to make and never did.)  I hope that someone appreciates the yarn - especially the golden yellow yarn that I had planned to use in making dolls hair.  So many plans unfulfilled.

Now I am down to a partially made scarf and the wool to finish it and then I have no more yarn left in the house.  I have already sold most of my fabric.

I have made a start on de-cluttering my linen cupboard, wardrobe and drawers. It is liberating but a little upsetting too as I cast off the old me and my old ways.  Collectable dolls have been a hard wrench to sell.  My doll collection has cost £100's over the years and now they are virtually worthless.  The second hand market is saturated with them.  I wish I had invested in experiences rather than 'things'.

This isn't meant to be a depressing post, it is just a reflection on letting go of dreams that perhaps weren't really my dreams at all.

I am looking forward to a fresh new perspective on life without all the clutter dragging me down.    Until then I will continue to streamline my 'stuff'!

By the way, a little thank you is well overdue to those of you who take the time to comment.  I know there isn't really anything to comment on a lot of the time, but to know you are there gives me the incentive to get things done.

Friday, 6 August 2021

Follow On Post

A few photos of last week's visit to the City of London.  I loved the sky in this photograph with the billowing clouds.  The sky looks huge even with the buildings towering up below  This was taken just outside Liverpool Street station on the Bishopsgate side.

The building above is Spitalfields Church.  My Great Great Great paternal Grandparents were married there.  Such an impressive looking church especially for humble working class people such as they were.  I didn't go inside.  I always feel uncomfortable in churches.

Outside another church I found this well maintained cultivated space secreted behind a hedge.  A place of reflection or respite perhaps.  I didn't notice a man sleeping on the next bench who my son pointed out to me before I got snap happy with my camera phone.  London is a place of extremes in fortune and misfortune and everything in-between.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Tentative Steps


I took a train to the City of London yesterday.  Less than half and hour from my house to Liverpool Street station.  I've not been on a train or any public transport since well before lock-down in 2020.

The trains are different now.  The seats run parallel either side of the train and you can see right down through the carriages.  There are information screens and charge points for digital devices.  There are bendy sections between the carriages.

The station looked different to last time I passed through.  Machines that once dispensed drinks, sweets and crisps and even longer ago - cigarettes,  now offered disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizing gels.  Everything looked clean and litter free and - sanitized.

A surreal experience and although not exceptionally busy I felt as though I had woken from a long coma and entered a new reality.

I remembered the station toilets as being smelly places frequented by drug users.  There was a small change charge to use them and you had to go through a turnstile to gain access.  Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see that the toilets were easily accessible with no outer doors - just doors to the cubicles.  The toilet flush, soap, water and hand dryer were all touch free.  It was hygienic and well maintained.

Outside the station, I wandered around Spitalfields and Bishopsgate.  A market was taking place selling handcrafted items, clothes, vintage and antique goods.  A trader smiled and told me there was no charge for looking.

Towards lunchtime it started getting increasingly busy in the market and my son and I legged it across to the falafal shop where we had lunch and watched the world go by.

I stocked up on some Montezuma chocolate in the shop next door before we made our way back to the station.

An albeit brief visit to London,  it was my first tentative steps getting back into society again.  Overwhelming sensory experience had me sleeping like a baby on my return.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

No Longer Crafting


It has been a long time coming  Long overdue, I am selling/disposing much of what I have built up over the last 30+ years. I am not the same person that I was when I first started 'collecting' craft materials.

I feel quite sick at the hours wasted on buying and hoarding all this stuff.  I no longer identify as a crafter.  Although I want to be shot of reminders of my past self, it is a wrench to let go products that were a buffer between me and my depression.  With hindsight, buying stuff made me feel better and I justified buying craft materials with the excuse that I could use them to make things to bring in an income.  What I should have been doing was working on my self image and investing in looking after my own mental and physical health.

I don't know who reads this blog anymore (apart from a handful of cherished regular readers) but I want to warn them about the craft habit.  If you talk to crafters a lot of them buy craft products and hoard them without actually ever using them.  They convert spare rooms into craft rooms and sheds into craft dens.  If you are young or have recently discovered craft don't be drawn into believing you need to have everything.  I truly believe my craft habit was an addiction.  We often hear about drug addicts and alcoholics but not so often about other forms of addiction.  Yes, excess drugs and alcohol is a form of self harm and can lead to death but I would suggest that any form of addiction is harmful to the addict and to those close to them.

This blog has been mainly about craft over the years but weirdly a lot of people that read it aren't particularly into craft!  I guess it is like people that watch cooking shows but don't actually do any cooking themselves!  

I don't know which direction to take this blog into now if at all.  What on earth can I talk about?  Any ideas?

Saturday, 10 July 2021

The Future Self That Never Was

I am feeling a little melancholic.  For many years I had a dream of having my own business by making and selling handmade items.  The problem here was not knowing what to make and how much time to invest in trying out suitable crafts.  The advent of the Shopping Telly Craft Channels back in the early 1990's made it all seem so simple.  Whenever they had guests on the show the presenter would ask 'What is your Angel policy?  Can the viewers buy the product to make and sell?'  'Yes, tell 'em to fill their boots' was a response I heard frequently.  Card making was one of the first lot of crafts touted and then they went across the board showcasing all different types of craft and machines to help your work be of a professional standard.  They even sold the cellophane bags to present your cards in to sell.

Card stock, paper, glues, cutting machines, die cutting machines, card making kits, punchcraft, pergamano, felt kits, jewellery making supplies, rubber stamps, heat guns, embossing powders, stamping platforms, inks, bookbinding, etc, etc.  I bought them all (almost) and did it all.

Storage was the next big thing on the shopping telly.  Now we had all these supplies we needed storage boxes, tote bags and places to store all these items.  I even bought a shopping trolley to store items 'on the go.'  I took over the spare room and filled it with 'Really Useful Boxes' to keep my 'stock'.  They piled up to the ceiling.

An unrealistic dreamer I convinced myself that by buying all this stock I was sitting on a future investment.  I stupidly failed to realise that these people want to sell a product.  That is all.  One of the champions of selling craft products to the public via the Shopping Channel is Sara Davies of Crafter's Companion.  She is an extremely ambitious and intelligent woman who saw the profit to be made in convincing middle aged women like me that they could turn their hobbies into profit by using her tools and kits and selling the end product.  She is now on the panel of Dragon's Den.

The reality of making to sell is that if something is easy to make then it is accessible to most peoples skill set.  If I can make a decent end product from having the right equipment so can thousands of others.  There is no profit to be made from making and selling unless what you sell is original and there is a market for it.  Many years ago I read that if you want to go into business make sure you are offering a service and not a product.  I think they mean 'end' product because there is lots to be made in kits and raw supplies.

It has taken over 3 decades to accumulate so many craft materials.  I never really enjoyed making craft products because the joy was thwarted through guilt in how much I had spent.  I am tearful as I dismantle the 'craft room'.  A dream being dismantled before my eyes.  I feel crushed as I sell off that which I had built.  There is no point in hanging onto a pipe dream.